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Poly jolly despite last-gasp loss

PUBLISHED: 14:36 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 24 August 2010

By Ben Kosky A LATE turnaround in the National Challenge Shield final denied Kilburn-based Poly Netball Club the icing on the cake of a memorable season. Poly, who play at Moberly Sports Centre, were four goals up on Cheshire side Halton in Sunday s final

By Ben Kosky

A LATE turnaround in the National Challenge Shield final denied Kilburn-based Poly Netball Club the icing on the cake of a memorable season.

Poly, who play at Moberly Sports Centre, were four goals up on Cheshire side Halton in Sunday's final, but succumbed with a series of untidy errors late on.

Halton scored twice in the last minute to edge out Poly 25-24 - and reopen painful memories of the Londoners' Shield final in 2007, when they let a nine-goal advantage slip against Loughborough side PSC.

Despite their defeat, the year has been a memorable one for Poly, who won both the Middlesex County League and the regional play-offs and will line up in the London & South East Regional League - effectively the third tier of English netball - next season.

Jayne Lea, who plays goal attack and captains the first team, said: "We did suffer from injuries to key players, which was always going to be a concern, but I'd still say this has been our best season ever.

"Middlesex has always been a strong area for netball - this is the area where the sport was born and Poly were a major force around the 1950s, but this is the first time we've won the County League in recent times.

"Reaching the Shield final was a big bonus really. It's worked well being at Moberly - they're very supportive and we have a good relationship with them.

"We've had a couple of good additions recently, but the bulk of our squad have been together for three years and we've got experience mixed in with young talent."

Lea herself is the most experienced member of the squad, having completed her 13th season with Poly, while goal shooter Alex Taylor has been there 11 years.

Their stalwart service, though, compares poorly with the longevity of the club itself - Poly are officially recognised as the longest-standing netball outfit in the country.

Formed by Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) in the summer of 1907, Poly were the largest sports and social club of that era in London.

They were originally based in Regent Street itself, but have since relocated around west and central London before moving into Moberly at the end of last year.


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